Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fixing my iPhone - stuck wake sleep button not holier than me!

Actually I fixed my wife's iPhone. A few months back I dropped her phone. The case dented right where the wake/sleep button is. This cause the button to be stuck in the down position, meaning the iPhone was constantly resetting, rendering it worthless.

She went to the store, they told her that the button was part of the case, and it wasn't a fixable problem. Since I had dropped it, it also was not covered by warranty. They told her for $199 she could upgrade to a 3G (upgrading the plan too...). I told her, what the heck, she is paying but at least she's getting the 3G.

Fast forward to last week. I left my iPhone on the Caltrain. I had gotten off in Palo Alto and went to the doctor, and leaving the doctor, no iPhone. I called Caltrain and PAMF lost and found - no dice. Called the phone, no answer. Nobody has made any calls with it, who knows. Next time, I'll download the app I just read about where you can get your phone to tell you where it's at. Until then...

I decided to see if it was possible to resurrect my wife's phone before buying a new one. Aside from saving a few bucks, it would put a tiny dent into the world's level of e-waste, so let's go for it.

After looking around on the web I found some references as to how to open the phone. ifixit has a decent blow by blow description. Looking at the internals of the phone I figured out that the button is attached to the case, peeking out of a button sized hole in the case. The hole being bent, the button was stuck. Plan - open the case, detach the button, bend the hole back open, and pray.

Opening the phone was a bit of a pain. I bent the rear cover a bit, I recommend being more careful than I was getting the rear cover removal started.

Here is the open iPhone.

Here is a picture of the bent case blocking the button.

I was able to bend the hole open and verify that the button now clicks. The phone is now plugged in and charging. I definitely have a charging screen, so I haven't completely destroyed the thing. We'll see if I can boot it up (the phone isn't activated, still having my wife's old sim card). The rear case is bent out so it isn't the prettiest job ever, but if it works I'll be feeling pretty smug and my wallet will feel $199 heavier.

Update: In fact the phone is working, the button is working. The antenna cover has some tabs on it that I sort of busted up. You definitely want to be more careful than I was, perhaps getting dedicated plastic iphone opener tools instead of a screwdiver! Doh!


murphstahoe said...

Activated and making phone calls. I think perhaps the antenna is not extraordinarily happy as I'm not getting the best service. But it will work for now. The wireless is definitely working very well.

Kiwi said...

My button is stuck and basically dong what you described. How did you pop the case open? A tool from the top?
I'd love to avoid dropping $$ from a stupid little stuck button.

... said...

THANK YOU! I found this from Google and now my phone is working again!

Mary Hagopian said...

You saved a lot with that fix! It’s amazing how you figured that out. At least it turned out that you didn’t totally damage it and it just needed a minor fix in the button. It may be worth for you to invest on an iPhone plastic case after all.
– Mary, TelcoWorld